I'm thinking of a place, in a time. I have a loose understanding of the word 'landscape'. A landscape is just the way the world unfolds and re-folds. You go to a place, you experience it, and you extract from that experience. Afterwards, you have the extraction, and nothing else. But some places you revisit. Then your extraction is thrown on the world like a net. Some things match, some don't. You inhabit a newer, thicker space for a time. Then you pull away again, and extract something else: it's the same, but more tangled. It never matches with what came before, and it grows wilder the longer you are away.
I don't think we were ever meant to leave.
I first looked at the blanket of experiences as something more veil-like, but now I'm not sure the separation is that simple. Mustn't the veil have holes and tangles, places where real and experienced are knotted up? That would make it more of a net. Anyway, I think about that separation of experiences a lot.
Right now, I'm drawing the drawing. I'm looking at art as memory, and understanding my world as a series of re-seeing an image. There's an emphasis on the line and mark. The mark is everything. The mark is depth and presence. The mark is all we have after we train our computers to replicate everything. My paintings need to be more drawer-ly, and I need to use thinner brushes.
My process is a chain of discoveries. It's a long interaction where I capture things I find on the canvas or paper, and develop them. I avoid critique at every step. The work feels so lifeless when I can see exactly how I made a piece. A feature of 21st century engagement with art is the impossibility to isolate work. It can be compared to an - for all intents and purposes - infinite amount of images available online, and inherit lines of critique that are dead weight to the experience. I had to take down all the scraps and clippings from other artists' work that I've gathered over the years because they were suffocating my studio. So we can choose to dialogue or to discover, and the latter seems to lead to the real dialogue we want in the first place. I have to be in a specific mood to make those discoveries, and I know quickly when my time in the studio is going to be fruitless.
Here are some notes on how I move through the painting space right now:
- Always work from observation. Draw the drawing ad infinitum - in every translation and extraction, there is a chance for discovery.
- Preserve the marks that you don't want to lose.
- Lead the viewer through the space.
- Alternate between warm and cool colors, line and field to create depth and movement.
- Let the work breathe; let light through the work. Don't leave marks sitting on top of the space.
To understand the world simply and richly, I think, is the secret desire of every artist: to be free from that giant mental burden of unpacking every way the world swims around your head. Extractions leave us hoping for a simple, beautiful truth that we can live fully and presently, not in memory or in faintness. When the space of the canvas doesn't co-operate, I long for a world that would make enough sense to put my studio into storage. That would be the easy way out. But I move and extract because the world is always asking me to. The whole trick of art is finding the one thing I can show people better than anyone else. What does the world need from me visually, specifically? I have to speak about where am and what I see.